Missouri Lawmaker Introduces Bill to Halt All EPA Regulations

Written by Katie Valentine

For one Missouri lawmaker, fighting individual Environmental Protection Agency regulations — like the recent rule on carbon emissions from power plants — isn’t enough.

Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO) introduced a bill on Wednesday that would halt all EPA rules that are currently in the works and prompt a review of all previous EPA regulations. H.R. 5034, titled the Stop the EPA Act, would also require Congress to approve all previous and new regulations that cost $50 million or more. Under the bill, any that aren’t approved by Congress won’t become law.

“My legislation will give the American people a voice in the regulator’s room when the President and the EPA try and go around Congress,” Graves said in a statement. “EPA aggression has reached an all-time high, and now it must be stopped.”

Graves’ legislation was prompted by the EPA’s “Waters of the United States” proposal, which aims to clarify what streams and rivers are under the jurisdiction of the federal government, under the Clean Water Act. It’s also aimed at the EPA’s new rule on carbon emissions from power plants, a proposal that multiple other lawmakers have attempted to undermine or overturn in recent months. House Republicans introduced an EPA funding bill this week that would block the agency’s new power plant rule, and nine states have signed on to coal company Murray Energy’s lawsuit against the agency, claiming that the new rule constitutes EPA overreach.

The EPA has long been the target of attacks from industry and lawmakers, however.

Take asbestos. On Thursday morning, the House side of the U.S. Capitol was shut down due to a possible spill of asbestos that occurred while workers were cleaning out the hazardous material from the building.

Something fell during “asbestos abatement work” at the Capitol overnight, prompting the closure of the House side of the building. Hazardous material response teams and Environmental Protection Agency investigators are conducting testing at the scene to determine whether or not the material that fell exposed the area to asbestos.

Breathing in asbestos fibers, which can be found in old insulation, flooring, roofing, paint and fabrics, can cause lung disease and lung cancer. The EPA has taken multiple regulatory actions against asbestos use over the last few decades, including banning it from pipe insulation and sprays. The agency banned most products containing asbestos in 1989, but two years later, that rule was overturned after outcry and a lawsuit from the asbestos industry and product manufacturers, who said the ban would cause “death by regulation” to the asbestos industry. That’s the same claim coal companies and lawmakers from coal-producing states are making about the EPA’s new power plant rule: that the EPA is waging a War on Coal, and that its regulations will hasten the demise of the coal industry.

“The Obama EPA has waged an all-out War on Coal, promulgating a series of rules and regulations seeking to eliminate the United States coal industry, and the very good jobs, and low cost electricity, which it provides,” Murray Energy said in a release after filing its lawsuit against the EPA. “Indeed, the lives and livelihoods of entire families in many regions of America are being destroyed.”

Though not as immediately hazardous as asbestos, coal, too, poses a danger both to the miners are at risk of black lung disease and to the Americans whose risk of respiratory illnesses and a range of other health effects goes up as exposure to pollution increases.

This post originally appeared on Think Progress

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

131 comments

Jim Ven
Jim Ven8 months ago

thanks for the article.

Karen K.
Karen K.2 years ago

Americans time and again have said they actually want clean water and air. Clearly this Congressman is not speaking up for what americans want, but is in the pockets of big industry. It's sad.

Jennifer H.
Jennifer H.2 years ago

The only ones with a problem with the EPA are the republicans and they use the claim that the EPA is stunting job growth. The majority of people support EPA because we, like Charlie R. said, don't want to live in China2. We care about the water we drink and the food we grow and the air we breathe. The republicans only see dollar signs for their pockets. Regulations are regulations and should be upheld. But the repubs also did this to ESA and look where we are with that now. They are trying to dump it too. Repub=greed.

Susan T.
Susan T.2 years ago

David F - the new power plant rules will help protect the public from PROVEN health risks just as the asbestos rules did. And the Coal Industry, just like the asbestos industry before it, is crying like a baby about complying with safety rules AND spending $$ on lobbying & PROPAGANDA to try to roll this back. Propaganda because they're trying to convince people that 1) the public health concerns are no big deal & 2) their industry will collapse into ruins.

The health risks are proven. And while the industry will not collapse, it will be a bit less profitable. Which reveals an ugly truth about the fossil fuel industry - it privatizes profits & socializes costs. They don't pay the medical bills for kids with asthma, or miners with black lung, or people with other respiratory illnesses who just happen to live downwind of Big Coal. These costs are borne by by taxpayers paying for Medicate or Medicaid or paying higher costs for private insurance.

Graves' proposal to review "every" EPA regulation is laughable; over the 40+ years of EPA existence there must be 10,000 if not more regulations. You think taxpayers $ is wasted now? He wants every rule examined - which includes the rules on asbestos, contrary to your assertion.

Karen S.
Karen S.2 years ago

Thanks

Maria Teresa Schollhorn

Thank you.

Charlie Rush
Charlene Rush2 years ago

You can sit, whine, and feel sorry for yourself, about losing an industry that has been good for your financial good, or you can 'grow up' and realize that the industry that was good for you and your family, is not necessarily good for the majority.

We have people actually, dying from asthma and other problems due to Big Business' refusal to invest in industries that are good for all.
Do we not need clean air to breathe?
Should we start wearing face masks, as they do in China?

I live in Pittsburgh and believe me, it look many Pittsburghers, too many years to get their acts around the decline of the steel industry. However, obviously, it can be done and must be, in order to move on with your life.

Nothing in life stays the same.

Steven G.
Steven G.2 years ago

From this con man's voting record, everything yea or nay results in promoting avarice corporate control over government and the continuous support and promotion of America's imperialist wars. This guy is nothing but a low-down traitorous scum-of-the-Earth skunk! He cares not-one iota about the people, he works only for self gratification.

http://votesmart.org/candidate/key-votes/9425/sam-graves#.U8WzKvldUbw

Simon Tucker
Simon Tucker2 years ago

The problem is money in politics: anybody wanting to run for power should have to present a case to a non-partisan committee. If their case holds water they should be allowed a sum of money from central or local taxation to promote their policies and platform. Nobody should be allowed to be funded by third parties, particularly not business interests and they should be barred for life from taking a job or any sort if reward, backed up with a criminal sanction, with any corporation or in any sector for which they have voted positively on a beneficial proposal for that corporation or sector. Whilst in office they should be paid the average national wage plus 20%, so that they are in touch with the real issues of people (it goes without saying that they have to give up all inherited personal wealth if they wish to serve the democracy and all trust funds must be terminated in favour of the state) and then you might get politicians who actually want to good for the majority because it is the right thing to do and not do the wrong thing as the result of a corrupt and venal arrangement with vested interests.

'Great White' Earth-Being
'Great White' 2 years ago

THIS IS BLANKING BS!!!!!!

THE EPA IS FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, THUS STATES HAVE TO OBEY THEIR LAWS & REGULATIONS!!!!!! THIS IS UN-USA!!!!! RIGHTIES-EXTREME RIGHTIES SCREAM ABOUT WHAT THEY THINK IS UN-USA, YET THIS IS BY DEFINITION IS UN-USA & THEY ARE DOING IT, NOT JUST IN MISSOURI & NOT JUST WITH THE EPA!!!!!